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US ship withdraws from search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

Published on Mar 18, 2014 8:04 AM
 
Crew members on board a United States Navy P-8A Poseidon man their workstations while assisting in search operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the Indian Ocean on March 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US naval ship that has been aiding the international search for a missing Malaysian airliner will be withdrawn from the effort, Pentagon officials said on Monday.

The decision was taken because the search area was now so extensive that it was more efficient to look for the jet using surveillance aircraft, officials said.

The guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, had joined the massive search last week and had shifted its focus west to the Andaman Sea on the request of the Malaysian government.

The Kidd, with a MH-60 helicopter on board, had completed a search of 38,850 sq km but "no debris or wreckage associated with an aircraft was found", it said.

At one point both the Kidd and another US destroyer were taking part in the search but now the US navy planned to rely on a P-8 Poseidon plane and a P-3 Orion aircraft for the effort, officials said.

"With the search area expanding into the southern Indian Ocean, long range patrol aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon and P-3C Orion are more suited to the current SAR (search and rescue) mission," the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

After taking off from Kuala Lumpur headed to Beijing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, triggering a massive international search across South-east Asia and the Indian Ocean.

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